Short Stories Challenge – The Giant’s Boneyard by Lucy Wood from the collection Diving Belles

Published July 8, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s The Giant’s Boneyard all about?:

The Giant’s Boneyard explores the end of childhood and the onset of puberty between two friends, Gog and Sunshine as they play in a giant’s boneyard at the end of the summer holidays.

What did I think?:

Diving Belles is a collection of short stories that are inspired by Cornish folklore and each one so far has been magical in its own way. In The Giant’s Boneyard our narrator and main character Gog is possibly a reference to the Cornish giant Gogmagog “one detestable monster…of such prodigious strength that at one shake he pulled up an oak as if it had been a hazel wand.” Our Gog of this story is a teenage boy in the first flushes of love with a girl called Sunshine who he has been friends with for years, despite the fact that at times she can be quite rotten to him! At the He is also suffering with “growing pains,” and often feels his phantom body is quite a lot larger than what he actually is. He has been told by his mother that his father was in fact a giant so he’s still got quite a bit of growing to do if he wants to reach his heights!

Gog is enjoying exploring the giant’s boneyard with Sunshine and marvels at the pyramid of human skulls, the smallest one being still as big as a television and especially the gigantic ribcage which is Sunshine’s particular favourite. He desperately wants to tell her how he feels about her and open up to her about where his father may be instead it is his phantom arm that he imagines snaking around her shoulders then fumbles his words awkwardly when she asks a loaded question about whether his father is dead or not. Sunshine continues to make quite barbed remarks which makes you wonder whether she realises his feelings for her and is trying to see how far she can push him. Following this up with requests for a piggy-back throws Gog into utter confusion and he seems to instantly forgive all her little transgressions.

As with the other stories in this collection, the ending is rather ambiguous and I’m not going to ruin it for people who haven’t read it but it threw me so much that I had to immediately go back and read the story again. On a second run-through things seemed to make more sense but I still wondered if I had got the wrong end of the stick. It could reference a number of things regarding the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood or it could be something more sinister:

“Adults would visit, huddle dwarfed and shivering under the bones and not come back.”

Aside from this I did really enjoy this short story – loving Gog and loving to hate Sunshine character wise and feeling both comforted and amazed by the beauty of the author’s beautiful descriptive prose. The magical side is always a bonus for me and something I think Lucy Wood carries off with perfection, almost making you believe that giants really do exist. By the way, if anyone has read this let me know what you think about the ending!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


NEXT SHORT STORY: A Telephone Call by Dorothy Parker from the collection The Story: Love, Loss and The Lives of Women, 100 Great Stories

2 comments on “Short Stories Challenge – The Giant’s Boneyard by Lucy Wood from the collection Diving Belles

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